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Shaukat Aziz ordered judges’ sacking: official

Updated June 27, 2014
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.—File photo
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.—File photo

ISLAMABAD: Interior Secretary Shahid Khan admitted before the special court trying retired General Pervez Musharraf that in the wake of November 3, 2007 emergency, several judges including former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had been sent home by the law ministry on the orders of then prime minister Shaukat Aziz.

On the third day of cross-examination, Musharraf’s counsel Farogh Nasim asked the interior secretary whether the proposal for the ouster of judges was initiated by then law secretary retired Justice Ajmal Mian and Law Minister Zahid Hamid and subsequently approved by the prime minister. The interior secretary, after consulting the documents handed to him by the attorney, replied, “Yes”.

Answering another question, he said, “It is correct to suggest that the summary for the appointment of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar as chief justice of Pakistan was moved by the law secretary and the minister and was approved by the prime minister.”

He added, “It is correct that the notifications with regard to ceasing of office of the judges of the superior judiciary and the fresh appointments (of judges) were made on the recommendations of the law secretary and the minister with the approval of the prime minister.”

Shahid Khan insists PCO judges not complicit in imposition of emergency

Barrister Nasim argued that following the imposition of emergency, the federal cabinet in its meeting of November 6, 2007 approved the action of former president Pervez Musharraf and on November 7, the National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the emergency.

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He said then prime minister Shaukat Aziz and cabinet members Zahid Hamid, Mohammad Ali Durrani and Tariq Azim also held a press conference, announcing their approval of the decision to impose a state of emergency.

When Barrister Nasim asked Mr Khan whether Shaukat Aziz, Zahid Hamid, Mohammad Ali Durrani, Tariq Azim and former law secretary Ajmal Mian and the members of the National Assembly who endorsed the emergency had “aided and abetted General Musharraf”, Mr Khan said, “No,” adding that this matter had not been brought into his knowledge by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to investigate the treason charges against the defendant.

When asked why he did not take action against those members of the 2007 cabinet whose identities were known to him, Mr Khan said, “I did not order against any member of the then-cabinet because the JIT did not bring forward any material against them.”

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He also disagreed with the defence counsel, who suggested that the judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) had also abetted General Musharraf in the imposition of emergency.

The interior secretary told the court that he had been unable to get hold of records of meetings retired General Musharraf had held with the services chiefs and corps commanders to discuss the imposition of emergency.

He said the JIT had tried to obtain the record from the defence ministry, but the ministry had not provided the necessary documents so far.

The special court adjourned proceedings until July 2 when Barrister Nasim will continue his cross-examination of the interior secretary.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2014